TJ Dillashaw

UFC 207 Main Card – Round Betting and the ‘Stun Gun’

TJ Dillashaw

TJ Dillashaw vs. John Lineker

TJ Dillashaw and John Lineker face-off at UFC 207 in a bout with serious implications on the bantamweight division. Dillashaw claims he should instead be fighting against Dominick Cruz for the title after defeating Raphael Assuncao at UFC 200, rather than Cody Garbrandt. Lineker, on the other hand, has been working towards a title shot for a while now and realises that to do so he must first overcome the top-class fighters in the division, such as TJ Dillashaw. It’s a fight in which there is a lot to lose for Dillashaw and plenty to gain for Lineker.

Dillashaw was on the way to becoming a top pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC if he managed to defeat Dominick Cruz in January this year. Instead, Dillashaw lost a split decision against Cruz in one of the better fights of 2016. Dillashaw is most known for defeating Renan Barao twice, the first time in which he was a huge underdog upon entering the fight. If Dillashaw defeats Lineker at UFC 207, there’s not a single doubt that he deserves another shot at the UFC Bantamweight Championship.

John ‘Hands of Stone’ Lineker is a fascinating entity. There is nobody more deserving of their nickname in the UFC than Lineker, who possesses some of the heaviest hands inside the octagon. He walks around the cage like he is carrying two bricks in each of his hands, ready to explode at any given moment. Lineker is also one of the most obvious fighters in the promotion. We know exactly what he’s going to do. He stalks his opponent around the cage with continual forward pressure, and as soon as an opponent backs into the cage, he launches his signature combo – a right hook to the body and a swinging left hook to the head. Lineker will be looking to land these devastating punches on the chin of Dillashaw this weekend.

The Breakdown

Knowing how Lineker will attempt this fight, it’s quite a simple one to try and process. While Lineker will be hunting down Dillashaw and baiting him into playing the wild striking game with him, Dillashaw will be doing the exact opposite, moving around the cage and keeping out of range of Lineker’s ‘Hands of Stone’. Dillashaw’s movement is world-class, and he sets up punches and kicks with extreme precision. Dillashaw is more than capable of evading the constant pressure of Lineker for the entire fight. However, I don’t think he has what it takes to finish him, solely because Lineker has a granite chin.

While I’m confident of a Dillashaw win, there’s more value to be had in the over 2.5 rounds betting with this one. That way, we pick up insurance of a third round stoppage or a Lineker decision win as well.

Tip

Total Rounds – Over 2.5
Saturday 31st December, 03:30 GMT
Odds: -200  –  BetVictor

Dong Hyun Kim

Dong Hyun Kim vs. Tarec Saffiedine

Dong ‘Stun Gun’ Hyun Kim gets back into the cage 12 months after his last bout against Dominic Waters in 2015. This time, Kim has the always tough Tarec Saffiedine in front of him who has lost two of his previous three fights.

Dong Hyun Kim is a fairly reckless fighter who will likely attempt to stalk Saffiedine down and throw powerful strikes. Kim also has excellent judo and jiu-jitsu skills that he showcases perfectly in his last fight against Waters after throwing him to the mat and then locking him into a deadly crucifix. Waters was trapped and ended up taking too much punishment before the referee jumped in to stop the fight. Hyun Kim’s recklessness is what can let him down, though. After rushing in with an almost idiotic spinning back fist against Tyron Woodley in August 2014 he got caught with a big shot before going down.

Saffiedine, on the other hand, is a patient fighter and employs more of a point-striking approach. He comes from a kickboxing background and has some nasty kicks. He can break down a fighter over the course of a fight by ripping away at the lead leg with kicks and pinpoint accurate striking as an opponent moves forward.

The Breakdown

If Saffiedine wants to win this fight, he’ll need to keep Hyun Kim at a distance with his striking. If Hyun Kim respects the striking of Saffiedine, he’ll fall right into the hands of Saffiedine and likely be defeated over the course of three rounds. However, Hyun Kim respects the striking of no man – we saw that against Tyron Woodley, one of the bigger punchers in the UFC. I can’t see Saffiedine establishing his jab in this fight against an absolutely reckless fighter like Hyun Kim who will be looking to close the distance and use his judo techniques to ground Saffiedine.

I’m leaning towards Dong Hyun Kim to finish.

Tip

Dong Hyun Kim by KO/TKO/Submission
Saturday 31st December, 02:30 GMT
Odds: +225  –  Bet365

Louis Smolka Ground and Pound

Ray Borg vs. Louis Smolka

Louis Smolka seemed to be on the way to becoming one of the hottest prospects in the flyweight division after tearing his way through opponents on the way to becoming ranked. That dream came to a brutal ending when Brandon Moreno, straight from The Ultimate Fighter Season 24, stepped in on late notice and submitted Smolka in the first round just months ago. Smolka gets a chance to instantly bounce back against the talented Ray Borg at UFC 207.

Ray Borg last competed in February 2016, losing a unanimous decision against Justin Scoggins. Borg wasn’t able to get his grappling game going against Scoggins who kept him at bay with long strikes and a strong clinch game. Borg looked predictable and ate plenty of punches on his takedown attempts.

Smolka is a well-rounded martial artist, with no particularly ‘excellent’ area. He has a sizeable reach advantage over Borg, an attribute that he has used well in his previous fights, whether standing or on the ground to create space for strikes. Smolka’s top game is arguably much better than from his back as well – something to keep an eye on.

The Breakdown

Both of these guys push an incredible pace, and with plenty on the line, I’m expecting them both to come out firing. Smolka invites stoppages by his opportunistic style of fighting – sometimes it works in his favour, and sometimes, like the Moreno fight, it doesn’t. He is always looking for the finish, and this can either open up a ground and pound opportunity for him, or if he slips up, Borg could stop him within the first rounds as well.

The under 2.5 rounds is the most enticing option here.

Tip

Total Rounds – Under 2.5
Saturday 31st December, 01:30 GMT
Odds: +135  –  Ladbrokes


Tips Summary

TJ Dillashaw vs. John Lineker
Total Rounds – Over 2.5
Saturday 31st December, 03:30 GMT
Odds: -200  –  BetVictor

Dong Hyun Kim vs. Tarec Saffiedine
Dong Hyun Kim by KO/TKO/Submission
Saturday 31st December, 02:30 GMT
Odds: +225  –  Bet365

Ray Borg vs. Louis Smolka
Total Rounds – Under 2.5
Saturday 31st December, 01:30 GMT
Odds: +135  –  Ladbrokes

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